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Tips for Gardening with a Visual Impairment

A photograph of fresh produce including carrots, raspberries, spinach, tomatoes and rosemary

Spring is officially here, which means it’s time to plant your garden! If you are living with vision loss, you might think gardening is something you won’t be able to do, but as with most things, you can do it with a few adjustments. The below tips come from an experienced gardener who is visually impaired.

Use Containers
Containers are a great way to store and grow herbs and vegetables without planting a traditional garden. This will make it easier for those with visual impairments, because of the inherent advantages that come with containers. For example:

  • They make identifying plants and seed locations easy.
  • They let you garden anywhere without digging garden beds.
  • They allow you to have the best soil, moisture, and growing conditions for a particular plant.
  • They make changing a plant's location easier.

Your container size will depend on what you want to grow. Large containers (five-gallon buckets, recycled trash cans, etc.) are great for things like tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, carrot and potatoes. Smaller containers (recycled cottage cheese containers, plastic take-out containers, etc.) are great for things like spinach and lettuce as well as herbs like basil, mint, oregano, parsley and chives.

Label Your Containers

  • If you use a notetaking system to help you remember what you planted and when, you can include the location as well.
  • Use labels in large print or braille to mark containers. The labels can be placed on the containers themselves or on markers made of wood or metal which can be bought from garden stores or made from popsicle sticks. Waterproof tape and markers can be used to create your own large print labels.
  • Marker plants can help you identify the contents of each container. Plants with a distinctive shape (like broccoli), scent (like basil), or supporting trellis (like tomatoes) can make good marker plants.

Choosing Plants

  • Explore new plant varieties and focus on each plant's sensory qualities.
  • For example, in addition to planting geraniums, also consider mint, lemon, lavender, a variety of roses, and plants with different textures and scents.

Sources: For more gardening tips, visit these two links below.